I’ve been tweaking this recipe for a while, and now I feel it’s ready to be shared with my beloved readers. The problem with many recipes designed for the crock pot is that they take the lazy approach. First they tell you to “dump” ingredients inside, then turn it on low and leave it there for 8 hours or more. The “dump” part always gives me a chuckle. I guess to make it sound easy you need to be very quick, no “carefully placing.” Let’s not even consider taking the additional step of browning or sauteing ingredients before slow cooking them. For some types of meat that will work fine, but for poultry? No bueno. I usually make a recipe the first time following it very closely, and this was not an exception. I cooked the chicken for 8 hours. The texture was simply wrong. Stringy, kind of dried up, with the exact mouth feel that gives crock pots in general a bad reputation. So, I turned to America’s Test Kitchen to learn their take on it. Voilà! They recommend cooking the chicken breast side down, and limit the time to 5 hours. Of course, if you work and would like to have the chicken ready for dinner, it could be a problem, but you can always make it after work and enjoy it next evening.  For us, it is not a big deal, we go home for lunch, so all I have to do is get it ready, place it in the slow cooker (sorry, no dumping, just not my style) and have a very easy meal later.


(from the Bewitching Kitchen, adapted from several sources)

1 whole chicken
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lemon, quartered
a few carrots, cut in sticks

Spray the inside of your slow-cooker with a little olive oil (not a mandatory step, but helps avoid stuff to stick).

Mix all the dried ingredients in a small bowl.  Sprinkle all over the chicken skin, try to get a little bit inside the bird too.

Stick the lemon quarters inside the chicken.

Scatter the carrot pieces in the bottom of your slow cooker. If you have a small rack to elevate the chicken, use it, if not, simply place the chicken breast side down in the crock pot.

Cook on low for 5 hours.

Remove the chicken, discard lemon quarters, cut chicken into serving pieces and place in a baking dish. De-grease the liquid that formed in the slow cooker, add some of it on top of the chicken pieces. Run under the broiler to crisp up the skin, and serve with the super soft and tasty carrots.  Adjust seasoning with salt if needed.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments: This is a very basic method that you can vary in all sorts of directions by changing the spice mixture, adding potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips to make it a complete meal. If  you have no issues with butter, a little smear of butter right before the broiling step will give it very nice flavor and a darker skin.  There is no need to add any liquid, you will be surprised by how much liquid will accumulate in the crock pot. That stuff is tasty, with a lemony tang, and subtle heat from the cayenne.  I know some people serve the chicken straight from the slow-cooker, but I find the additional step of crisping up the skin worth every second of additional work.  I tried reducing the cooking time to 4 hours, but the meat was not as tender as I like. You might have to play around with the timing, depending on the power of your slow-cooker, the size and quality of the chicken you find in your grocery store.


Dinner is served!


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ONE YEAR AGO: Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Frosting

TWO YEARS AGO: Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Honey-Mustard Dressing

THREE YEARS AGO: Bewitching Kitchen on Fire!

FOUR YEARS AGO: Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

FIVE YEARS AGO: Chiarello’s Chicken Cacciatore

SIX YEARS AGO: Donna Hay’s Thai-Inspired Dinner



Should I be embarrassed to blog about a “recipe” that is essentially two ingredients plus seasoning? Potentially, yes. But in reality I am not, because this non-recipe has a nice little unexpected twist to it: the bacon was pre-cooked sous-vide. WAIT!  Don’t run away, you can make it if you don’t have the Anova gadget sitting in your kitchen drawer. But I must say bacon cooked sous-vide and stored in the fridge waiting to shine in any recipe is a very nice item for the busy cook. Or any cook, actually, because this method gets quite a bit of the greasy “feel” of bacon out of the equation, and the texture will be superb.


(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

several slices of bacon, preferably cooked sous-vide
large eggs
Aleppo pepper (or pepper of your choice)

If cooking the bacon sous-vide, place the slices in a bag and submerge in the water-bath set to 147 F (64 C) overnight. I left mine 12 hours, but you can do it longer if more convenient.  At the end of the cooking time, a lot of fat will have accumulated inside the bag. You can save it if you like to cook with it, or discard it.  Place the cooked slices of bacon over paper towels to dry them well. Store them in the fridge until ready to use. If not using sous-vide, cook the bacon on a skillet, but do not allow it to get too brown or crispy.  Drain them well in paper towels before assembling the cups.

Heat the oven to 375 F (175 C).

Cover the bottom of a muffin baking tin with bacon, making sure to come up all the way to the top. Gently break an egg and place it inside. Season with salt and pepper.  Bake according to your preference. I like the egg yolks to be runny, so 10 to 15 minutes maximum will be enough.  If you like your eggs fully cooked, go for 20 minutes, but pay close attention, you don’t want to over-dry the egg.

Remove to a serving dish, and dig in!


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I made this recipe for the first time in July, and since then we’ve been cooking bacon sous-vide on a regular basis. To me, it takes bacon to a whole new level, cutting some of the harshness I find overpowering. If you get your pan screaming hot, you can get by simply searing one side of the bacon slice, as the whole thing is already perfectly cooked to start with. But, even if you crisp up both sides, the texture will be perfect.


These little cups are perfect for breakfast, or a light lunch.  Having the bacon waiting in the fridge makes this preparation a breeze. All you need to do is warm up your oven (we use the Breville that heats up super fast), grab the muffin tin, and you are less than 20 minutes away from a nice meal.   I also made those using prosciutto and ham.  Both work very well, but the sous-vide bacon is my favorite. Keep also in mind that if you’d like a vegetarian version, cooked spaghetti squash strands can be a nice receptacle for the egg. I intend to blog about that sometime. The secret is to  be assertive in the seasoning, otherwise it can be a bit bland.


For those interested, this is low-carb, Paleo-friendly, Whole30-friendly, but above all, it’s very very tasty!


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ONE YEAR AGO: Pulling Under Pressure

TWO YEARS AGO: Cooking Sous-vide: Two takes on Chicken Thighs

THREE YEARS AGO: Miso Soup: A Japanese Classic

FOUR YEARS AGO: On my desk

FIVE YEARS AGO: A must-make veggie puree

SIX YEARS AGO: Vegetarian Lasagna

SEVEN YEARS AGO:  Brazilian Pão de Queijo



Sometimes I like a pure sourdough bread, one that allows just the flavor of the flour (a little rye is mandatory) to come through. Other times I get into a daring mode and try to come up with unusual or at least new to me combinations.  I’ve made a sourdough before with some Sriracha in the dough, and loved the outcome.  I decided to repeat it in this formula, but also included Mexican cheese (Cotija, a favorite of mine), and some special black olives that were on sale at our grocery store. To take the bread into a deeper Mexican path, I included some cornmeal in the formula too.  I love to see the olives peeking through the crust. Like Pavlov’s pup, I start to salivate…

(from the Bewitching Kitchen, adapted from several sources)

for the levain:
15 g starter at 100% hydration
23 g water
23 g flour

for the soaker:
23g cornmeal (coarse)
75g boiling water
(mix and cool to room temperature before incorporating in the dough)

for the dough:
60 g levain
140 g water
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
all the soaker made as above
33 g spelt flour
208 g bread flour
6 g salt
80 g Cotija cheese in chunks
50 g black olives, pitted, diced fine.

Add starter to water and Sriracha, mix well. Add all flours, but leave salt behind. Incorporate the mixture into a shaggy mass, and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Add salt and mix well, it should get a little smoother.

Bulk rise the dough for a total of 5 hours, with folds every 45 minutes (4 times). Shape, retard in the fridge overnight. Bake at 450 F with initial steam. I removed shaped loaf from the fridge one hour before baking time.  Cool completely on a rack before slicing.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments: I kept the cheese and the olives in reasonably large pieces. When you do that, the crumb structure won’t be particularly open, but I like the way the cheese gets very assertive in flavor once you bite into a piece. If you are a beginner at bread baking, cut into smaller pieces to make it easier to handle the dough. As you become more comfortable with the folding method, you can be more daring.  Particularly when adding nuts, it can be a bit of a challenge to fold the dough. But, once you shape and allow it to go for te final proof, all the goodies inside will find their perfect spot to be.


Phil made a full meal for himself the following evening resting a very tasty pan-fried red snapper on it, then crowning the whole thing with avocado slices. A sprinkle of black pepper and a squirt of lime juice on top, he was a very happy camper. I even got to try a bite…


I am submitting this post to Bread Box Round Up,
hosted by Karen, the Bread Baking Goddess.



ONE YEAR AGO: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake

TWO YEARS AGO: Sourdough Rye Bread with Flaxseeds and Oats

THREE YEARS AGO: PCR and a Dance in the Mind Field

FOUR YEARS AGO: October 16: World Bread Day

FIVE YEARS AGO: The US Listeria Outbreak 2011

SIX YEARS AGO: 36 Hour Sourdough Baguettes

SEVEN YEARS AGO: October 16 is World Bread Day

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(texto em português ao final)

This is a post I will write without going back to edit  a single word or  typo. Bear with me


My Dad had a huge influence on me.  He’s been gone for a long, long, time. More than a decade.

If I had one hour with him, just one more hour. This is what I would ask him.

Dad, how did you get into playinhg chess? Who taught you the game? WHy did you start playing and how did you get so good at it?

Dad, can you tell me one thing about you..  one thing you would like to have changed? ONe flaw you regret having? One handicap you wish you had a  better grip on?

Dad, I don’t think you had any idea of the impact you had on my life, or how much you influenced me, every single day. If I had one more hour with you, I would tell you. I cannot say I think about you every hour of my life, but that’s because when I think of you it hurts a little. But I think about you a lot. And I miss you . MOre than words can say.

(comments are shutdown for this post)




Meu pai teve uma influencia fantástica na minha vida. Ele se foi ha’ muito, muito tempo. Mais de uma década. 

Se eu tivesse apenas uma hora a mais com ele, eu perguntaria  – Papai, como e’ que voce começou a jogar xadrez? Quem te ensinou a jogar? Por que voce começou a jogar e como se tornou tão bom no jogo? 

Me conte uma coisa sobre você.  Uma coisa que gostaria de ter mudado. Um defeito, talvez. Algo na sua personalidade que gostaria que tivesse sido diferente, que gostaria de ter de alguma forma modificado. 

Eu não sei se você fazia idéia do quanto me influenciou em cada passo da minha vida, a cada dia. Se eu tivesse uma horinha a mais com você, te diria.  Eu não posso dizer que penso em você a cada hora da minha vida, porque pensar em você traz um pouco de dor, uma saudade dolorida. Mas o pensamento existe, e’ constante e sinto uma falta que palavras não conseguem definir. 

(comentários estão fechados para esse artigo)



I made these treats for our Halloween party last year, and waited to blog now, so there’s plenty of time for you to make them in case you are hosting a party, or just feel like sharing something with friends on Halloween week. Very easy and fun. First, Screamingly Cute Chocolate-Covered Pretzels.


They were fun to make, even if slightly messy. But that could very well be operator-error.  I am not that skilled when it comes to melted chocolate. You will need a bag of pretzels, melting chocolate (the best kind is this one, according to many sources), and eyeball candy. Sounds scary, right? Well, it’s for Halloween, it must be scary!


Second, even simpler to put together: Witch Brooms. Peanut Butter Cups with a strategically placed Pretzel stick. The flavors all work well together too. Hardest part of making them, is unwrapping the peanut butter cups. Be Zen. And enjoy the moment.


If you make the Screaming Pretzels, handle the eye-ball candy with impeccably clean hands. Any chocolate that gets to the white candy will be hard to clean once you place them on the pretzel. Tweezers help. It will be easier to glue them while the chocolate is not fully set, but then it’s best not to try to re-adjust their position. Work slowly and you’ll get the hang of it. I am sure it will surprise you that I had never had the combo of pretzel with chocolate. It works! It is really a delicious combination, a little crunch, a little salt, a lot of chocolate.


A call from the past… one of our favorite Halloween costumes, back in 2002.  John and Olivia…
Hey, who said scientists cannot be a little silly? 



ONE YEAR AGO: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake

TWO YEARS AGO: Sourdough Rye Bread with Flaxseeds and Oats 

THREE YEARS AGO: Apricot-Raspberry Sorbet: A Farewell to Summer

FOUR YEARS AGO: Marcela’s Salpicon


SIX YEARS AGO: Fondant au Chocolat

SEVEN YEARS AGOGot Spinach? Have a salad!

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It’s been two months since my last In My Kitchen post. Time to invite you for another little virtual tour of our kitchen, as part of the fun event initiated by Celia, and now hosted by Lizzy from Good Things. I have quite a few gifts to share so let’s get this party started

Our friends Denise and Hélio came to visit us and showered us with gifts….


Straight from France, a bag of the most fragrant Herbes de Provence! One of our favorite spice mixes, we do not make croutons for our Caesar salad without a nice sprinkling….


Also from Provence, a sampling of gourmet salts. These are incredible!  Lavender salt, Hisbiscus, Curry, and sun-dried Tomatoes with Basil.  I eat a lot of fried eggs for lunch, and these salts are perfect to finish them, adding variety and fun.


Did they spoil us or what?  Gourmet mustards… my favorite, the tarragon version… spectacular on grilled salmon.


This super special tea, which made me do a happy dance all over the kitchen… It turns out I had just saved a recipe for a very intriguing type of ice cream and it called for Rooibos tea.  The blueberries in this one will only make that concoction better, if you ask me… Stay tuned.

In our kitchen…


Yes, it’s exactly what the label says. Pistachio paste. OMG. I put it to very good use, by the way. Filling for macarons. You will have to be patient, at some point I promise to share. The smell as you open the bottle is out of this world amazing. I think it might have aphrodisiac components in it. Beware.

In our kitchen….


Or should I say, from our garden… This humongous zucchini that escaped our radar. Are we the classical absent-minded scientists or what?  Anyway, I had no idea what to do with it, but it ended up as a delicious dinner.  On the blog soon.  Yes, you can call me a teaser…

In our kitchen…


Two ingredients that our grocery store now carries in a special spot dedicated to Italian and Spanish ingredients. Have I ever told you I love mortadella? I grew up fighting with my Dad for the last slice, so whenever I see the authentic product for sale, I get nostalgic.  One of my pet peeves is people comparing mortadella with Bologna. My blood boils, and I need to count backwards from 100 to calm down.  I then go into a lecture, as politely as possible to state that no, Bologna doesn’t even begin to compare to one of the greatest cold cuts in the known universe with its pieces of pistachio peeking at you. A few times we served it to friends and they go “It’s JUST like bologna, right?”  I can hear Phil taking a deep breath and whispering “oh, boy, here we go….” Hey, you can love Bologna, and we’ll still be friends, but if you tell me Mortadella is Bologna, be ready for my speech. The other ingredient, is of course prosciutto, the second best cold cut in the known universe. Nothing quite like it, although American speck is very tasty too. But it is NOT prosciutto. Got that?

In our kitchen….


You win some, you lose some. I bought these out of curiosity, as they are supposed to be very low in carbs. Well, the texture is barely ok, but the coconut taste too pronounced and taking the wrap into a sweet territory that I don’t find that great. After all, when wrapping a nice piece of chicken with Mexican spices all over it, I prefer a savory wrap.  I know some people love them, but I am not one of them.  Phil looked at my face when I took a bite and quickly grabbed a corn tortilla. He is a smart man. But he is taken, so don’t get any ideas.  I am small, but I will put up a fight you’ll never forget.

In our kitchen….


If you are going to get serious about macarons, might as well get the right tool for the job.  I found this Silpat at Marshalls for a bargain and decided to bring it home. The diameter of the circles might be just a tad too big, but I use the inner part of the line as my limit, and that’s ok. If I need to make three baking sheets, I simply lay a piece of parchment on top of the Silpat, pipe the batter, move the parchment away and lay another one.  The circles are quite visible through the paper.

In our kitchen…


Lavender extract. Also something I bought with macarons in mind, but have been using in many other recipes. Just a couple of drops will be enough, this stuff is very potent.

In our kitchen…


A slightly smaller jar to keep my starter in the fridge. I like the bigger size for refreshing the yeast, but prefer to keep a smaller amount hibernating in the fridge between feedings. This size is ideal, and I love the color of the lid. Found on

In our kitchen…


It’s the time for fall colors… I have something in mind for these sprinkles. Maybe a Halloween-friendly version of Brigadeiros? Another surprise find at Marshalls. Love that store!  You never know what you’ll find hiding deep in one of their shelves.

In our kitchen….


A can opener. Amazing how much I love this one. It turns out that when we had to drive all the way from Portland to Manhattan bringing Bogey, we needed to feed him his special diet, that involves a particular brand of canned dog food. As many Dalmatians, he had problems with kidney stones. Phil’s sister had quite a few of those cans stored in her garage, but of course we needed to be able to open them. We grabbed this opener from her kitchen. I am sure it is several years old, but it works better than any other opener we’ve ever had.

In our kitchen…


Little dog sculptures of The Fabulous Three! Maybe you should get to know their full names:
Oscar For the Love of God Stop
Bogey Quit That
Buck Don’t Snap Me

Speaking of that trio, it’s time to let them share their own adventures, but first….

Chief’s Stories


Many years ago, when we lived in Oklahoma, Phil trained the dogs to fetch the newspaper in the morning. Each day one of the dogs would fetch. Things were going pretty nicely, until a particular day in which Chief grabbed the newspaper, and just as Phil said “good job” he took away running around the neighborhood, newspaper firmly in his mouth. Phil was not pleased as he chased the little rascal, still in his pajamas and without any coffee in his system. Chief was fired from that job. Pits, our dalmatian, was the one in charge from that day on. Of course, Chief made it very clear he wasn’t happy with the new arrangement.  I caught this scene, and it’s hilarious the way Chief grabs the newspaper after Pits fetches it, as if saying, “here, I can do that too! Now pass me that darn cookie, and make it fast!”  At the very end he goes back at the plastic wrap, still a bit peeved. Undoubtedly, he had the strongest personality of any dog we ever met…


Buck and Oscar sit down to listen to Dad tell them they need to be nice to Bogey. His new brother has been through a lot and needs to feel welcome.


Buck seems totally fine with it, as the new brother meant he also got a new bed to rest his bones after a tough day of chasing squirrels and killing snakes.

Although he thinks nothing beats his good old bed, where he can relax in all his glory…


Oscar and Bogey get into canine disagreements every once in a while, but for the most part they get along ok.  One day I rolled out my mat to do my exercises and went upstairs to change. When I came back, to my surprise, they were both laying by the mat, as if waiting for me, and stayed there very well-behaved during my virtual torture session with Tony Horton.



Bogey is slowly adapting to a different life, spending his daytime outside with the two new brothers….


He clearly thinks he is a lap dog, and tries to prove it to his Dad at every chance he gets…




Of course, Bogey is not alone in being persuasive…


Sir, would you find it in your heart to give me
a little bit of whatever is left from your dinner with Mom?

I close this post with a little video. Bogey doesn’t like his paws touched, so “shaking” doesn’t come easily for him.
But, some progress is being made.

That’s all for now, folks… I hope you enjoyed this brief walk through our home… see you next time!



ONE YEAR AGO: Paleo Moussaka

TWO YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2014

THREE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2013

FOUR YEARS AGO: Bourbon and Molasses Glazed Pork Tenderloin

FIVE YEARS AGO: Crimson and Cream Turkey Chili

SIX YEARS AGO: Taking a break from the nano-kitchen

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Chocolate Chip Cookies

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